kaplev on 10/04/2010 at 06:40PM
If I Were a Festival, Where Would I Be....?
EVERYWHERE. Hola Nola-between this past weekend's Foburg Music Festival on Frenchman, SXSW happening all this weekend, Coachella, and Jazzfest in just another few weeks, it's only natural that festivals will play a large role in the upcoming mixtapes. Ironically, I won't be in attendance for any of these events! But don't worry, because I'm returning to Nola just in time for the Bayou Boogaloo, held in my own neck of the woods, the beautiful Mid-City neighborhood. To live vicariously through the actual attendees of these showcases, I will share the bands and songs that would be first on my list if I were in the tough position every festival-goer shares: looking at that overwhelming fold out schedule, seeing how many bands you enjoy overlap to play at the same time, and think to yourself: 'who planned this thing?!'. I know.
Foburg stands apart from these monster balls of a show, with a majority of the performers on the bill from New Orleans, all congregating on and around Frenchman to pour Indie, Experimental, and Rock genres into the street. There are some out of towners as well, for Foburg was designed as a pit stop destination for many bands on route to Austin for this week's South By Southwest festival. Because that festival officially started this past Wednesday, this playlist touches on some local flavor that I’ve grown to know and love since my big move to the Big Easy, as well as some more widely known names that are making it rain down in Texas this weekend.
Because I slept in Brooklyn last night, this mix begins with a Brooklyn duo known as Savoir Adore, who are slowly but surely making a name for themselves in NYC and beyond. They graced Nola this past weekend and are continuing their journey to perform next in Austin. What is impressive about the collaboration between Deidre Muro and Paul Hammer was created in one weekend; their first EP is an entire concept album that the two conceived in just two days, as a sort of experiment. Like so many of these 'accidental successes' of young creative talent who were just having fun, and passing the time (Au Revoir Simone, The Unicorns, etc) Savoir Adore played a few shows in their hood and impressed the local crowds. The band is really making moves, heard all over itunes, Hype Machine, and venues all over the country. 'The Scientific Findings of Dr. Rousseau' is my favorite tune on the album, with soothing instrumentals and an inventive progression. Next up is Big Rock Candy Mountain, a band who has a legit following down south, largely due to the hit single 'Rocketship', which rocks out with intelligent riffs and hearty vocals. Music is not the only thing these guys do well- BRCM is also known for their killer potlucks, stocked with slow braised ribs, mama's cornbread mash, spicy cole-slaw, and a seasonal Abita to wash it all down. I was lucky enough to attend one of these feasts over the summer, being that one of my first New Orleans buddies happens to be lead vocalist and man on keys Michael Girardot, who played host during a great gathering at his humble uptown abode. These guys share the limelight with another household name in town, MynameisJohnMichael. I caught these guys at a party held at the CAC a few months ago, and enjoyed the unique sound created by a mix of instruments that no one genre can define. This isn't blues, this isn't jazz, this isn't rock, this isn't indie singer-songwriting, this is electric, percussive, and brass-blasting music that cannot and should not be labeled. 'Misery Runs' displays the horns that are a consistent tool to strengthen and flesh out these melodies, with special attention paid to, in my opinion, the Teddy Roosevelt of brass: the Trombone.
At that same CAC shakedown, DJ Bees Knees stepped in to close out the night with some twisting and shouting, thanks to their mainly MOD themed sets. These guys also get around, headlining weekend dance parties at The Saint, Saturn Bar, All-Ways Lounge and events in need of some Motown soul. When Bees Knees starts spinning (working with vinyl, and vinyl only) the party goes all night, and the sweat pours like PBR. To illustrate the vibe of these two, I've selected the quintessential MOD representatives (aside from The Kinks and The Who), The Yardbirds, with the famous 'For Your Love'. For a more poetic Foburg experience, the sunday night regulars at Circle Bar, Meg 'Peg' Roussel, Micah of Silent Cinema, and Loren Murrell all showed up to share some tunes. I learned of Loren when going to check out friend Peg at the Circle bar and later on Yellow Moon down i the bywater, and his backup vocals alone blew me away before even starting his own set. Loren's voice and how he uses it is enough to stop all banter in the bar, and 'Swinging His Keys' proves why. Before moving on to SXSW, it is important to note Meschiya Lake, who frequents old Frenchman watering holes such as The Spotted Cat, and upstairs at Mimis, and is a favorite of mine to catch any night of the week.
Moving into selections from those inaugurating 2010's South By Southwest, Austin's Beauty Bar invited Jeremy Jay to play late night on Wednesday, a newbie to Northwest's K Records, breaking into the scene with his EP Slow Dance. Jay immediately grabbed my attention after first hearing 'Gallop', what remains as my favorite of the bunch. His sound sometimes resembles that of Peter Bjorn and John (without the accent), with heavy reverb and EQ on the production. [A quick local alert: Nola was heard in Austin on Wednesday thanks to Curren$y, DJ Pasta, and Blaire, who were spread out across the city on opening night of the festival].
Thursday had a huge lineup, with so many amazing performers, from Jean Grae to The Very Best, to my good friends from Anamanaguchi. However, I want to highlight some names that hopefully didn't get lost in the mix of big-time headliners like GZA and The XX. Attention must be paid to the deserving Nicole Atkins, who I recently saw perform (with David Byrne) at Bowery Ballroom on Delancey street a few weeks ago, and, closing the show after a long night of many great acts, melted the audience into their seats until her last belted note. I have not been so excited by a folky female with guitar since Dar Williams and Ani Difranco (no shame here), and 'The Way It Is' speaks for itself. Changing it up is a dance track that has been on repeat is the insanely catchy 'I'll Get You' by Classixx. They ask the simple question 'Do you Like Bass?", as if it's even a question. Enjoy this one. Next is a rough around the edges electronic band from Denver who go by Pictureplane, who I was excited to see were invited to play at the Speakeasy Kabaret on South By's second evening. This discovery was most likely due to another spastic music blog researching/downloading session, and thankfully so, because this band is doing it's own thing, taking risks with elements like tempo and structure, and their guts are paying off. Check out 'Cyclical Cyclical (Atlantis)' for some freshness. [Thursday local alert: Nola was heard on Thursday thanks to The Generationals, Truth Universal, and Big Sam's Funky Nation]. I am tempted to keep going, but will reserve Friday-Sunday's picks from Austin for next week, and will close with one of my favorite old school jams 'Keep Livin', by Jean Grae, who spits over Scarface's original beat off his hit single 'My Block' on his seventh album The Fix. Both are great, and although Scarface came first, my loyalty lies with Ms. Grae on this one (who thankfully, although mentioning this thought in the song's first line, did NOT change her name to Crystal Meth).